HEALTH INVESTMENT WELCOMED, BUT WE CAN DO BETTER TO
KEEP VICTORIANS OUT OF HOSPITAL
23 May 2023
Community Health First welcomes the 2023/24 Victorian State Budget, which delivers substantial investment to support the growing health needs of Victorians amidst a challenging economic environment.
This budget responds to the extreme sustained demand on Victoria’s health system, with a funding injection of $4.9 billion to build and upgrade hospitals, boost primary care services and support the health workforce.
Community Health First celebrates the continuation of funding to increase access to health services in community-based settings, particularly funding for GP Respiratory Clinics which will ensure that Victorians can access urgent care outside of our overcrowded emergency departments as we head into flu season.
Additionally, funding of $32 million in incentives for doctors who enroll in the GP training program will provide a much-needed boost to the GP workforce in Victoria and cover the shortfall in income for doctors leaving the hospital system to enter general practice.
However, while this investment is necessary to address the pressures facing our hospitals and primary care services, to ensure sustainability of our health system in the long run we need to see increased investment into preventative care initiatives.
“This budget is a good start to addressing Victoria’s health system crisis, but we know there is further work to be done to support the services that keep Victorians healthy and out of hospitals and ambulances in the first place,” Community Health First spokesperson Anna Robinson said.
“We look forward to further discussions with Government about the future of our health system and the vision we share for a system where all Victorians can access care early on and close to home, before their issues worsen.”
We know that investing in primary and preventative care reduces presentations in our emergency departments and ambulance services. According to a report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), Potentially preventable hospitalisations in Australia by age groups and small geographic areas, 38% of illness, diseases, and early deaths can be prevented. This same report also found that 1 in 10 hospital admission days are preventable.
“Victoria’s registered independent community health services play a crucial role in keeping our state healthy and supported, helping communities thrive and keeping Victorians out of hospital,” Ms Robinson said.
“Community Health First will continue to advocate for increased and sustained primary and preventative healthcare for Victorians and the community health services that provide these vital services.”
FOR MEDIA COMMENT OR INTERVIEWS, CONTACT ANNA MINCHAM – 0407 206 965